Sunday in Huntington Beach could not have been more pristine, as local surfing royalty, friends and fans of the late Andy Irons gathered on the south side of the Huntington Beach Pier to pay tribute to the legendary surfing icon. Still reeling from shock after Irons' untimely death at age 32 on Nov. 2, this surfing community gathered first on the sand for a beautifully executed memorial and then a somber procession into the surf for a traditional paddle-out to honor their fallen brother. On this beautiful autumn afternoon, the surfers slowly began to form the large circle that connects them together, holding hands and chanting, "Andy, Andy, Andy!"
The sight from the pier was nothing less than spectacular. On the pier, an estimated crowd of 3,000 onlookers watched in awe as these surfers splashed water toward the heavens, banged on their boards (also part of this timeless Hawaiian tradition) and threw into the center of the massive circle flowers for their hero that they clenched in their teeth as they made their way into the water. Due to the huge number of grieving souls, they were not able to each give a personal account of their memory of Andy Irons. Estimated to be a thousand in number, it was to be the largest paddle-out in Huntington Beach ever.